Graffiti Summer Vacation Press Release

June 2nd, 2017  |  Press Release  |  Written by : Pen and Brush

Graffiti Summer Vacation

June 6th – August 5th, 2017

Gallery Hours:  Tuesday – Saturday 12-6pm

Graffiti Summer Vacation at Pen + Brush is as much about community as it is about showcasing female street and graffiti artists and writers.  Pen + Brush, a 123-year-old arts institution dedicated to showcasing the work of talented women artists and writers, will open its gallery walls to the NYC community, inviting female graffiti and street artists and writers to make their art on our walls. The goal is to mix female artists who are already influencing the landscape of street and graffiti art with the voices of writers, and make their work accessible to Pen + Brush’s network and to the New York City community.   Featured artists include:

  • Lady Pink:  Known as the “first lady of graffiti,” Lady Pink began her career in 1979 writing graffiti and painting NYC subway cars.  As a leading participant in the rise of graffiti-based art, Lady Pink's canvases are in numerous important collections, among them: the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum.
  • Josephine Barreiro:  Hailing from Newark, Barreiro’s deep-seated love for graffiti art and abstract expressionism gives way to a body of work that is laced with anger, spontaneous energy, and personal as well as cultural memory.  Her work previously appeared in Pen + Brush’s Broad Strokes exhibit, where she live-painted in the gallery and was featured on PBS’s NYC-Arts.
  • Michela Martello:  An Italian-born illustrator-turned-artist, Martello is known for her murals and works on textiles.  Her approach explores history, belief systems, and their corresponding symbols, and is driven by the discovery and re-discovery of meanings.  Martello’s interactive mural Graffiti Goddess (pictured above) is currently on view at Pen + Brush, and she is a featured artist in the La Mare Wave Walk with Project O alongside notable artists and influencers.
  • Anna Walinska (1906-1997):  Beginning at the age of 12, Walinska painted nearly 2000 works over nine decades.  A woman ahead of her time in many ways, she began experimenting with spray paint a few short years after its invention, and inadvertently became a pioneer in what would become graffiti and street art.  Works by Walinska are included in numerous public collections including the National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Throughout the exhibit, Pen + Brush will hold a series of writing and graffiti workshops.

On June 16 from 4-7 PM, Michela Martello will teach a workshop for kids and adults of all ages to learn the graffiti alphabet. Martello has several mural commissions around New York and New Jersey and counts street art as one of the defining influences over her work. Her latest, Graffiti Goddess, will remain on view throughout Pen + Brush’s Graffiti Summer Vacation. The ongoing additions of words and art from the public have turned this mural into a vibrant, evolving public art project that serves as proof of the power engagement through art and words that will now spread throughout our entire space with this summer exhibit.

There will also be a series of five writing workshops led by poet and educator Marissa Anne Ayala, arranged around the themes of feminism, politics, and poetry.  The workshops will run for five consecutive Thursdays from 6:30-8:30 PM on July 6, 13, 20, 27, and August 3.  Attendees will read and respond to poetry by female writers and leverage language to explore, question, and speak out loud in reaction to the politics of the self, family, gender, geography, and race. This series is designed to develop writers as poet-activists: participants will both explore poetic narratives and create their own.  These workshops are designed for new writers, seasoned writers, artists, and activists seeking to engage with the power of protest via the arts.

Finally, Martello will return for an encore graffiti alphabet workshop, running concurrently with artist Josephine Barreiro, on July 15 from 2-5 PM.  Barreiro’s workshop, for children and adults 9-years and up, will focus on creating street art through stickers and found materials.  Growing up in Newark, Barreiro cites graffiti, specifically that of the urban center, as the groundwork for her gestural and energetic technique and also as the inspiration for her work. Barreiro will also contribute a mural to Graffiti Summer Vacation, featuring her black and white paintings in which distorted figures, symbols, and jagged edges morph into expressive street art abstractions.

Pen + Brush has invited a number of prominent female graffiti and street artists to contribute their voices to our walls throughout the summer. By working to bring a diverse collection of artists and writers to the gallery space, Pen + Brush hopes to encourage the New York City community to engage in a dialogue not only with these artists but with each other. The non-profit is also inviting community groups to participate in the workshops and the Graffiti Summer Vacation


Media Contact: Christie High ( and Lauren Banyar Reich (